It wasn’t to be for the Springbok Sevens team after a tough weekend of playing great rugby and losing key players to injury finally caught up with them when New Zealand beat the Blitzboks by 38-0 in the final of the HSBC Sydney Sevens on Sunday.
The Blitzboks were in superb form leading up to the final – which included a 17-14 win over NZ in their pool clash on Saturday and a big 31-12 victory over Fiji in the semi-finals – but they failed to replicate that form in the final.
Losing Siviwe Soyizwapi and Ryan Ooshuizen to injuries earlier on the weekend, Jaiden Baron after the semi-final and Impi Visser early in the final, also made life difficult for the South Africans.
Ill-discipline and defensive errors – two areas where they were very good in their first five games – cost the Blitzboks as New Zealand made them pay with their power game, while also dominating possession and territory.
Roderick Solo, Joe Webber and Sam Dickson scored first-half tries as the All Blacks Sevens took a comfortable 17-0 lead at the break, while the Blitzboks hardly had any meaningful possession.
They put up more of a fight in the second half, but the energy simply wasn’t there and New Zealand scored their fourth try, by Akuila Rokolisoa, with two minutes to go, effectively sealing the Sydney title, while Amanaki Nicole and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black grabbed two late five-pointers for the Kiwis after more mistakes by the South Africans.
Despite going down to New Zealand, the Blitzboks moved up to second spot on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log, leap-frogging the USA and Argentina which is a massive boost for their aim of finishing the season in the top-four, which will mean automatic qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, while the Kiwis are still at the top of the standings.
New Zealand 38 (17) – Tries: Roderick Solo, Joe Webber, Sam Dickson, Akuila Rokolisoa, Amanaki Nicole, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black. Conversions: Rokolisoa (2), McGarvey-Black, Payton Spencer.